The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, upheld the jail terms of more than 80 people for their involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Justice Gauba, however, noted that there were reasons to believe that certain part of the facts noted or gathered by the investigating agency in the wake of the FIR filed in the case “may have remained uncovered”.
This was in view of the fact that the prosecutions arising out of the FIR had covered 73 homicidal deaths, despite the fact that 95 dead bodies, all unmistakably cases of homicidal deaths, had been collected and brought to the police station till late night of November 2, 1984.
The court now noted, “…it is likely that twenty-two homicidal deaths may not have seen any criminal action initiated against anyone till date. Since the documents in the nature of death reports, and autopsy reports, of quite a large number of them continue to be part of the record of this case, one assumes that no agency till date has taken pains to examine if any criminal action on basis of such material, and the evidence in their regard which may possibly be available elsewhere (including the statements of a large number of persons which were reflected in the first two charge sheets) may be required to be undertaken.”
It therefore, directed the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to have the material, and the evidence in such cases to be re-examined by an appropriate agency for such further action as may be requisite.
Riots had engulfed the country after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. This case pertained to the incidents that took place in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri area, where 95 people had died in the rioting and 100 houses were burnt.
The convicts before the court had now challenged the judgment passed by a Sessions Court in August, 1996, convicting 89 people for offences punishable under Sections 188 IPC, 147 IPC and 436 of the Indian Penal Code.
Justice Gauba, however, upheld the impugned judgment, and in fact opined that the case merited more severe punishment, but refrained from enhancing their punishments as there was no appeal with such prayer.
“Though, having regard to the extensive damage that was caused by the appellants to a large number of houses or other properties of Sikh community by fire, the case merited punishment more severe than the one meted out by the trial court, given the fact that there is no appeal seeking enhancement of the punishment, the trial court having taken a lenient view, there is no occasion for this court to modify the order on sentence either way,” the court observed.